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In Great Falls, Serena DeJesus will become first professional MMA Fighter with autism

Posted at 6:16 PM, Apr 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:52:52-04

GREAT FALLS – The Intense Cage Fights of the Fusion Fight League once again come to Four Seasons Arena. The co-main event features 25 year old Serena DeJesus as one of the fighters, AKA the Southpaw Outlaw. DeJesus has racked up an impressive amateur fighting record. Not only is she set to make her pro fighting debut in Great Falls on Saturday April 14th, she will also make history becoming the first known professional MMA athlete with autism, during National Autism Awareness month no less.

“Feels nice. This is a dream come true because regardless of the outcome of the fight on Saturday, I’m a pro, I realize my dreams now,” said DeJesus. “I’m just going to keep on chugging from here. I’m going to see if I can add another fight of the night award tp my name on Saturday.”

Dejesus is quickly becoming a role model for her fans, the autism community as a whole, and with other MMA fighters, such as Roxanne Modafferi. Roxanne and Serena have become very close friends and have trained together over the past few years. Dejesus will have her friend in her corner Saturday night as she sends a message to everyone that just because she has a disorder like autism, doesn’t mean she’s weighed down by it.

“It’s a big reason why I fight. I want to show that there can be good role models in the autism community,” said Dejesus. “Everybody looks up to fighters, I can be that strong example showing that you can do it, even if something is hard, just try try again. It’s great. I have two siblings that are also autistic. One of them wants to fight like me when they get to be of age, and the other one wants to be social and be healthy so it’s nice.”

“I can honestly say that Serena is the hardest working person in the gym, said Modafferi, Fusion Fight League Flyweight Champ. “She just busts her butt everyday, doing everything she needs to do. Things that she likes to do like muay thai, things that she needs to do like grappling and strength and conditioning. She works so hard, she’s getting better and better and it’s really great to train with her.”

She’s used her platform well, to teach others about different types of the disorder. Fans have reached out to DeJesus and thanked her, and told her to keep going.

“They just support me, they’re like wow, keep going! I’ve had some people on the autism spectrum reach out to me and thank me for what I’ve been doing in being a good ambassador,” said DeJesus. “I’m also an ambassador (for the organization) Fighting for Autism. I use my platform to talk about Autism. Just show people it’s not just about one thing, one look or another. Autism is a spectrum, there are different looks, there are different types of people and how they react to it. Not everyone is like what they see on tv, it’s all different.”

Dejesus will fight 33 year old, Kelly “Skittles” Clayton in the 135 pound pro fight at Four Season Arena Saturday night.